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Rescue Mission For European Space Industry

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the they're-creating-more-space dept.

Space 563

metz2000 writes "The New Scientist reports that the European Space Agency (ESA) has pledged hundreds of millions of Euros to guarantee its independent access to space. Europe also looks set to co-operate with the Russian Space Agency. Looks like the space industry is hotting up again. How will NASA react to this news after being the dominant space agency over the past three decades? A lot of money is going into rocket technology also; with this and the 'European version' of GPS are we heading towards a future conflict across the Atlantic?"

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WWW.LINUXCAD.COM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113002)

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LinuxCAD has grown in sales and functionality since its original introduction in 1998.

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IP Theft and The Linux Community (-1, Offtopic)

Michael's a Jerk! (668185) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113008)

The Linux community likes to hide behind the mantra of free and open
software for all and as such has the twisted mindset that all software
should be free for everyone. This should come as no surprise seeing
that the Linux community seems to take pride in stealing anything they
can get their hands on and breaking laws designed to protect IP at the
same time.

Linux users have been advocating downloading Microsoft True Type Fonts
for years mostly because their own fonts and font system in general
has been so horrific that Linux screen fonts in most stock installs
are almost unreadable. Of course they will claim that Linux fonts are
great but if that were really the case why is the internet clogged
with Linux Font DeUglification documents written by Linux users?

They even have documents that give a step by step procedure for
stealing the Microsoft fonts and installing them on Linux systems!
Notice in particular the instructions for the Tahoma font.

http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/mini/FDU/truetype.html
http://corefonts.sourceforge.net/

Next we have Linux users violating the EULA for the X-Box and
tinkering with it so that it can run Linux.
Why on earth any sane person would want to take a bitching game
machine like X-box and ruin it by installing Linux is a mystery to me.

http://xbox-linux.sourceforge.net/index.php

http://xbox-linux.sourceforge.net/faq.php

Pay particular attention to the question about it being illegal and
how they avoid answering the question.

They are also doing the same thing with Sony Play station as well.

http://playstation2-linux.com/faq.php

None of this is going to hold up in a court of law and the Linux
people who are leading these projects are looking for some serious
trouble should Microsoft and Sony decide to pursue this matter.

Finally we have the suit filed by SCO which claims that the Linux
community at large has incorporated stolen code into it's open source
programs.

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,936269,00.a sp

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Linux
movement from the day Linux wrote the kernel.

The Linux community has proven themselves to be a fight to the end,
steal whatever can be stolen from big business because it is big
business that is killing Linux.

The Linux community has absolutely no respect for the property of
others and will resort to any type of clandestine tactics to steal
whatever isn't cemented down all in the good name of Linux.

So if you are thinking of betting your business on Linux software, you
had better think it over carefully, because if SCO should win, Linux
will be out of business.
And if SCO should lose, do you really think it is wise to bet your
entire business on software that is supported by a community that
promotes stealing and in fact is full of thieves?

Food for thought.

Re:IP Theft and The Linux Community (-1, Offtopic)

da5idnetlimit.com (410908) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113170)

About the fonts, I can't tell a thing.
Except maybe that some fonts are free... and possibly Tahoma too ? Check it yourself !

- "Linux users violating the EULA for the X-Box"
1/ EULA are Illegal in my country.
2/ This is MY Hardware. because I BOUGHT IT! I exchange my warranty against the right to do what I fu**ing want.
It is my right.
I could also buy a Compaq/HP/Dell computer and void my warranty by installing some Crucial memory. Its My computer.

-"if you are thinking of betting your business on Linux software, you
had better think it over carefully, because if SCO should win, Linux
will be out of business."

I seem to remember that SCO was suing IBM on some code for the 64 bits platform... I never heard them suing "Linux Inc"(sic)...and as far as I know, 32 bits linux are 90% of the "market"(sic)

-"And if SCO should lose, do you really think it is wise to bet your
entire business on software that is supported by a community that
promotes stealing and in fact is full of thieves?"

Well, basing my business on someone who is patently a Troll, that promotes "stealing" GPL code (use Linux API and don't share ur code...Thief, ain't you ?) is for sure the best way for me to succeed in the Big Boyz Playground.

BTW, I don't have any mod points. I nevertheless mod you down.
Is there a way to filter some senders in Slash ? When I find the option, you go to the spam/trash bin.

second post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113009)

some damn troll stole my first post
LINUX IS GAY, MICHAEL SIMS SUCKS LINUS' COCK yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

First! (2, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113016)

Anyway I do not think its a conflict. Unlike the cold war there is no need to create a space race in order to improve military technology.

Most european countries just purchase American or Russian military vehicles and weapons anyway.

I think it would be great for nasa to work together. If the US wants to be seen as a world player they may need to increase funding to NASA and have it work with the European space agency. The russians have been great help working with Nasa and I expect the same.

Re:First! (1)

dingo (91227) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113031)

Wouldn't it be better if they didn't work together.
A bit of good old competition, maybe a race to mars?
Liven things up a bit ;)

Cooperation (4, Insightful)

fridzappa (607143) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113048)

The ESA and NASA already have a history of working together. The Saturn-bound Cassini, for instance, has the ESA-designed Huygens aboard. A little competition is healthy (see the current Mars missions), but international cooperation is the only way we'll see big projects like Cassini in the future.

Re:First! (1, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113078)

"Old" Europe, as George Bush II put it, is currently trying to build up the domestic military industry. If you expect lots of purchases of US military technology from there, you may be in for a surprise.

Re:First! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113123)

Moron that was Rumsfeld get your facts right...

Re:First! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113126)

"Old" Europe, as George Bush II put it, is currently trying to build up the domestic military industry. If you expect lots of purchases of US military technology from there, you may be in for a surprise.

Good. The American taxpayer is tired of subsidizing all of Old Europe's socialist experiments by providing for its military defense.

Abourt time you guys paid for your own credible militaries.

Re:First! (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113137)

You've got that the wrong way round, Britain would be DELIGHTED if the US Air Force were to abandon it's UK bases - they're a lot more valuable to you than they are to us.

Re:First! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113172)

Um, if the US collapsed tomorrow, Europe is one of the few places in the world wealthy enough to not be terribly bothered about it. How much aid do you think Europe actually gets from the US, these days? Not to mention that, of the eight trillion-dollar economies in the world today, three of them (UK, France, Germany) are in Europe and the US is, well, a country (not a continent).

And most of the American troops in Europe are either there because they haven't let go of the Cold War yet, or because they need somewhere comfy to stay while they're waiting to go kill people in the Middle East. :-)

Re:First! (2, Informative)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113214)

"Not to mention that, of the eight trillion-dollar economies in the world today, three of them (UK, France, Germany) are in Europe"

You forgot Italy ($1.44 Trillion), and Spain isn't far off the big T ($828 Billion). EU GDP is larger than that of the USA, as is population - but the combined armed forces are no match for America's ludicrously expensive collection of death toys. We tend to spend our money on hospitals instead...

But ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113276)

If we pull all of our troops out of Europe, who will keep the Germans out of France?

It frightens me deeply even thing about it.
French-Germans.... Cheese eating, wine drinking, pisses-off, bike riding, Speedo wearing, smelly, hairy, megalomaniacs that love nothing more then to attack a neighboring country then turn around and run.

You owe us Europe.. you owe us big.

MOD PARENT UP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113157)

Can't see why it has such a small rating

Re:First! (4, Interesting)

splateagle (557203) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113191)

Most european countries just purchase American or Russian military vehicles and weapons anyway.

Pretty sweeping unsupported statement that, you might want to look at EADS [eads.com] before making any more blind assumptions there... That said I think you're missing the point.

The first space race might have been driven by the military, but if there is to be a second race between ESA and NASA I imagine it'll most likely be driven more by developments in civil aerospace.

Arianespace [arianespace.com] are hardly a minor global player, neither are Airbus. While admitedly they've yet to show a direct interest in space flight, they are part of EADS and given Boeing's development, it's unimaginable that Airbus hasn't got it's eye on space at some point in the future...

As it stands the ESA have already been working with NASA and the remnants of the old soviet space agency (calling it "Russian" is confusing, since Russia is in Europe) and I expect that they'll continue doing just that, the Space Station is after all an International venture, not just an American thing.

Race or not, this news seems to suggest that (as happened with civil aviation technology in the later years of last century,) Europe might be about to take the dominant role in Space technology now... maybe. Should be interesting anyway, and anything that drives us forward globally has to be a good thing.

Space is hotting up indeed (5, Interesting)

lingqi (577227) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113025)

Did y'all know that China has very recently launched it's third navigational satellite [go.com] , making it possible for china to use its own positional system independently of US / EU / Russia? (three is the minimum for triangulation - if you assume that the triangulated point in space is to be thrown out)

btw, I find it so very amusing that whenever western sources refer to the chinese space program, they just HAVE to add phrase like "secret, military linked," as if NASA is completely independent of the military, or something...

anyhoo. maybe there is still a chance for me to visit mars before I die eh? or some serious possibility of WWIII - as China and EU becomes increasingly suspicious of US... (not unwarrented or anything)

Re:Space is hotting up indeed (1)

dingo (91227) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113042)

If wwIII starts i sure hope i am on mars too

anyone else read Kim Stanley Robinson's Red/Green/Blue Mars

Safest place to be

Re:Space is hotting up indeed (5, Interesting)

Cyberdyne (104305) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113070)

Did y'all know that China has very recently launched it's third navigational satellite, making it possible for china to use its own positional system independently of US / EU / Russia? (three is the minimum for triangulation - if you assume that the triangulated point in space is to be thrown out)

You need three visible satellites for triangulation. Picture the globe, and work out where the satellites would be. Either they're geostationary, clustered over one part (which would give a crude GPS service - over one chunk of the Earth only) or they're not (in which case you can't triangulate anything from them on Earth). You might be able to use them from a lower orbit, though, for positioning satellites; all 3 equidistant GEO satellites would be visible when you're over either pole. Whatever it is, it's not [yet] a GPS rival!

btw, I find it so very amusing that whenever western sources refer to the chinese space program, they just HAVE to add phrase like "secret, military linked," as if NASA is completely independent of the military, or something...

It is independent of the military, actually; the Pentagon did have input in the Shuttle program early on (they wanted to be able to use it for launching and servicing/upgrading spy satellites, which can't be done with a rocket) but these days they launch their own stuff, on rockets from Lockheed Martin. (Built in what Michael Moore claimed in BFC was a "missile factory", as it happens.) NASA probably handle some stuff for the military, still, but most of it is done "in-house" using their own systems - in fact, orbital monitoring is military, with a full-time member of staff to liase with NASA and monitor the status of the Shuttle and ISS.

Re:Space is hotting up indeed (2, Insightful)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113115)

Well, since I dare say China probably has no intention of providing positioning information to anyone outside of China, three satellites is almost certainly sufficient to provide GPS-like functionality within Chinese borders.

Re:Space is hotting up indeed (2, Interesting)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113155)

" (Built in what Michael Moore claimed in BFC was a "missile factory", as it happens.)"

He actually refers to them as "rockets with a Pentagon payload", which is about right. There's a good chance that the kind of payload that those Titan and Atlas rockets carry is a LOT more dangerous than a Tomahawk.

Re:Space is hotting up indeed (1)

sparkes (125299) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113071)

you would need a lot more than three for a Global positioning system the planet keeps getting in the way of the signal ;-)

the more signals the better the resolution of the data you can get.

Re:Space is hotting up indeed (1)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113108)

As said before you need more then three satelites for continuous coverage...

However you need more then three satelites for a gps like system anyway...
Unless you are going to equip every receiver with its own cesium clock you need to receive atleast four satelites at the same time.

Jeroen

Re:Space is hotting up indeed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113159)

the word is THAN you ill-educated hick

Re:Space is hotting up indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113187)

Not everyboddy is a native english speaker, if YOU had paid attention in school you might have know...

no need to keep 100% accurate local time (3, Interesting)

lingqi (577227) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113190)

I was always under the impression that even with three satellites, you would be able to use the GPS signal to correct your local clock.

Few reasons for this, IIRC:

1) all three satellites are keeping perfect time, so if your clock is off, it is very easy to compensate for.

2) satellites transmit positional information - this can be compared with your local positional table to correct your local time

Besides the point - since details are sketchy, they might even be using dual-band per satellite to compensate for atmospheric delay errors.

Of course, i might be talking out of my ass - so if you have evidence backing up what you say, prove me wrong.

Re:no need to keep 100% accurate local time (4, Informative)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113232)

Its not that hard:

Suppose you have a bunch of satelites transmitting time and their location. When you receive that you know were that satelite was at that moment.

Suppose you have also have a good clock, and you receive one satelite. In that case you can calculate the distance between you and the satelite (time difference between the two clocks multiplied by the speed of the radio signal, ignoring atmospheric influences for simplicity).
No you know that your position is somewhere on a sphere around this satelite.

When you receive two satelites you get two intersecting spheres. Two intersection spheres gives a circle of common points. So now you know that your position is somewhere on this circle.

With a third satelite you get a two (unless you are in space exactly in between three satelites) intersect point. So now you now your exact position since one can easily be ruled out. (Unless you ARE in space ofcourse)

But this only works if you have an accurate (as in atomic clock accurate) clock.
If your clock is a litle bit behind the calculated distance between you and ALL three satelites becomes larger and you have no way of knowing it did. (Your still get one singular intercept point).

If you have three satelites and a questionable clock all you know is that you are on a line intersecting the two points I mentioned earlier.

With four satelites you can make several groups of three satelites (three groups to be exact) resulting in three of such lines.
Were these three lines intersect is the point you are. (This method also rules out you accidently thinking you are in space btw)
With this point you can adjust your own clock...

Jeroen

ahh (1)

lingqi (577227) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113254)

cool. point taken and noted. heh, maybe all the chinese recievers need a altimeter to function properly for now...

very very unrelated: you seem to almost universally substitute "were" into places that need a "where." is there a reason for this?

Re:no need to keep 100% accurate local time (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113263)

Many GPS receivers can calculate a fix from 3 satellites, assuming the height did not change from the previous fix, or is zero (sealevel).

In fact, you are intersecting the spheres from the satellites with the (nearly) sphere of the earth surface. When there is no single intersection, the clock can be corrected until there is, and the position is then known.

This can be used to continue tracking in situations where 3 (or only two) satellites are visible, as is often required for car navigation systems in "urban canyon" circumstances.

Re:Space is hotting up indeed (2, Insightful)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113277)

>btw, I find it so very amusing that whenever western sources refer to the chinese space program, they just HAVE to add phrase like "secret, military linked," as if NASA is completely independent of the military, or something...

That is similar to certain presidents always mentioning "weapons of mass destruction" linked to certain countries, while having stockpiles of those in their own yard...
(even more amusing when they fail to come up with evidence about them)

Hmmm, Interesting (4, Interesting)

SkArcher (676201) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113027)

With the current problems in the US space program, it may be that the newly fixed Arianne launch system can claim a significant share of the market.

It is important to remember that Arianne is also somewhat cheaper than the Shuttle for any given weight of payload - the shuttles main advantage is that its live crew (which is the reason for the higher cost) can perform and regulate scientific tests.

I await the next Arianne launch with baited breath.

Re:Hmmm, Interesting (1)

sparkes (125299) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113080)

The smaller arianne rockets are cheaper to launch than almost any other platform. Unfortunatly the new larger varient is more expensive as it keeps blowing up :-(

Re:Hmmm, Interesting (1)

SkArcher (676201) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113097)

IIRC the score is 2 shuttles to 1 arianne :/

Re:Hmmm, Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113183)

Well, there's only been 3 US missions where humans lost their lives (2 shuttles and the first Apollo mission). That's not too bad, given there's been over 100 missions in the last 40 years.

But I hate to see any of these missions fail, since it takes so long to get back on track. I would love for all these nations to have strong space programs. Competition is a good thing.

Re:Hmmm, Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113147)

My apologies in advance for this insignificant nit, but I think you mean "bated breath". "Baited breath" would be what you'd have if you just ate a worm or a crane fly or something like that.

Or perhaps it was deliberate, and you were just trolling for a swordfish.

Re:Hmmm, Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113197)

What do you mean, current problems in the US space program? AFAIK, the space shuttle's success rate is on par with the expectations [fotuva.org] .

Conflicts (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113032)

with this and the 'European version' of GPS are we heading towards a future conflict across the Atlantic?

That is primarily dependent upon the accessibility of your oil supply. :-)

DISARM EUROPE NOW!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113116)

We must take preventative measures to disarm these terrorists before they are able to develop these weapons of mass destruction on any large scale and threaten the security and economic stability of the United States.

God Bless America!

Re:DISARM EUROPE NOW!! (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113165)

should I duck & cover right now?

Re:DISARM EUROPE NOW!! (1)

xyr0 (678756) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113241)

are you referring to the the kind of war like the one fought in iraq (with the WMD that havent been found) because of the so-called "bureaucracy reasons"? if so, its called "Preemptive War". but i believe that Fox News doesnt tell you this ... economic stability? which one? btw, theres more in the world than either youre with us, or against us. just a hint. God (which one?) bless sanity.

AH HA HA HA!! FOX IS MY ASDFADSFLSDF!!111 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113256)

DEEZ NUTZ IN YO MOUF

Heavy lifters (5, Interesting)

Bombula (670389) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113033)

We've seen many articles we've recently about space, including the recent Shuttle tragedy and the successful launch of the Mars Express, as well as the X-prize. Throughout, I continue to see an emphasis on the importance of reusable equipment. Can someone give a comprehensive explanation for why lifting technology needs to be reusable?

It seems like 30 years ago we did pretty well with expendable rockets. Since each shuttle mission costs hundreds of millions, is it really worth it? Why not invest in the development of a 'cheap' single-use lifting technology, like a successor for Soyuz? Even if each rocket cost $100 million wouldn't it still save lots of money, and wouldn't it mean much larger payloads could be delivered?

Re:Heavy lifters (1)

stoborrobots (577882) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113057)

Availability of resources might cut into your ability to keep building expendable lifting devices...

Just a thought...

It might still be viable though... We'd need to do a cost/benefit analysis...

Re:Heavy lifters (5, Insightful)

SkArcher (676201) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113084)

Yes and no. The idea behind the shuttle was to save on having to build an entirely new launch vehicle every time you wanted to put a payload into orbit.

Unfortuanately, the shuttle program was based on some incorrect assumptions. First, it was assumed that their cost predictions for the shuttle would be accurate (they weren't, it costs far more per launch than predicted) and secondly, the increase in payloads wanting taking to orbit wasn't predicted (there was a massive increase, IIRC)

In theory, reusables are cheaper, but in the short term the throw away option works better.

What would make throw away rockets even cheaper is a dual use philosophy of design, allowing the entire rocket (or a lot of it at least) to reach orbit, where it could be reused to form parts for orbiting storage or some such (after all, these are generally allready presurized tanks, so they will be airtight in orbit)

Re:Heavy lifters (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113238)

Think death star. What sort of self respectng megalomanic would attempt to conquer the universe with independent launch vehicles

If something goes very wrong (4, Insightful)

itchyfidget (581616) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113034)

... then surely it would be an advantage for the stricken space-program to have the other party to fall back on?

I'm thinking particularly of in-space rescues where the other program may have the resources ready to launch a rescue-mission, but there are probably other scenarios from which both NASA and ESA would benefit.

Plus, competition will mean that the science thrives, particularly in the current political climate (don't kid yourself - the US and Europe are *not* friends right now).

Timely (5, Informative)

akadruid (606405) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113037)

The New Scientist report is both inaccurate and out of date.
A more timely report was published last week at the BBC [bbc.co.uk] .
All the same, this is a very interesting move for the ESA, and for Europe. A challenging move here could well help our efforts towards a more united Europe.
This is a rare 'carrot' for UK residents, more used the threat of monetory union and other unpleasent symptoms of a united Europe.

Re:Timely (1)

K. (10774) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113266)

You don't have to start using the Euro, you know, you can always just stay dollar-linked. After all, why would you need control over your own currency? I'm sure the US will look out for your interests when things get tough, just like they did for Argentina.

Good news (2, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113038)

I say more power to 'em. Something has to get the US off it's fat ass, and if it won't, someone else needs to carry the torch of science and progress into space.

I say this as a US citizen BTW.

Re:Good news (1)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113095)

I say this as a US citizen BTW

Be careful of what you say in public dude.

EUROPE IS A DANGEROUS EMPIRE IN THE MAKING (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113156)

Can't you see?

This socialist empire will threaten the prosperity of the United States and threatens to erode the noble American way of life.

We must take steps to keep this from happening.

Long Live America!

Re:EUROPE IS A DANGEROUS EMPIRE IN THE MAKING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113204)

I'd rather have a european empire than the currently growing american one - at least we can learn from our mistakes.

AMERICA IS A DANGEROUS EMPIRE - RESIST IT! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113212)

I bloody well hope so. Believe it or not, there are some people in the world* that are quite comfortable with their own customs and habits and are starting to resist the influx of your noxious McKulcha. Long live a United Europe - flower of Humanity, source of the world's art, science and history.

Europa Endlos

*(look it up - it's what's the bits that aren't america are called, and yes it really exists)

Re:AMERICA IS A DANGEROUS EMPIRE - RESIST IT! (0)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113255)

where's my copy of Trans Europe Express when I need it?

Re:Good news (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113253)

I say this as a US citizen BTW.

Not any more. We here at the dept of homeland security would like to inform you you have 24hrs to relocate your self to camp delta. You are now classifed as an enemy combatant after your unpatriotic remarks on /.

IF I EVER MEET YOU I WILL KICK YOUR ASS!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113268)

Is there more to it than traditional exploration? (2, Interesting)

arcite (661011) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113041)

After reading recent stories here on /. about Chinese interests in building a moon base and extracting resources, I wonder what are Europe's space program's primary goals? Are they interested mostly in hard science stuff? Or are they creating and building up an entirely new kind of space industry? Perhaps what I really want to know is, when do the orbiting space hotels go up? :)

A Good Thing (TM) for the Space Industry (3, Interesting)

stoborrobots (577882) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113049)

This may just be a good thing for the space industry in general...

Didn't the really great advances in space travel come about because of the intellectual battle between the US and the Soviet Union?

If the ESA starts making inroads into space research and NASA wants to keep its top position, it will be forced to become really competitive, and this might mean that we will see missions which *succeed*!!!

Or we may just see more missions, with more cut corners... :-(

Re:A Good Thing (TM) for the Space Industry (1)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113196)

Didn't the really great advances in space travel come about because of the intellectual battle between the US and the Soviet Union?

It was not, and never was, an intellectual battle. Both sides sought to intimidate the other, and gain influence amongst the non-aligned states, through demonstrations of superior national will and technology.

If the ESA starts making inroads into space research and NASA wants to keep its top position, it will be forced to become really competitive

Not at all. There's no conflict to win between the US and EU. Neither agency needs to compete, since both are funded by the taxpayers of their respective nations. You will simply see them both swell into even larger and more expensive bureaucratic monsters.

Re:A Good Thing (TM) for the Space Industry (1)

stoborrobots (577882) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113245)

By intellectual battle, I meant not related to a physical military battle (i.e. there was no war)... I didn't meant to imply that they did it for the kudos of their scientific peers....

And for what it's worth, I think Dubya and the Europeans have clearly shown in the last few months that there is a conflict between them... And influencing non-aligned states is exactly what they have been trying to do!

Hundreds of millions, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113058)

That's about one shuttle flight...

Re:Hundreds of millions, eh? (1)

stoborrobots (577882) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113076)

...after the shuttle is built/acquired...

Think of the building costs as well...Tens of billions, anyone???...

NASA would take hundreds of billions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113280)

ESA could probably take a piss cheaper than NASA. All NASA is is a huge publicly-funded trough for contractors to use for their overcharging fetish. BEAGLE 2 was made for 42 million pounds (it's a unit of currency used in "one of those loser places that aren't america") and with a bit of luck it might do very well.

Europa Endlos

No Space War (2, Informative)

sparkes (125299) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113060)

I don't think we are heading for a new cold war europeans have been in space for years.

The problems are the funding (and this is what is being discussed in the article) To the best of my knowledge all the worlds space agencies are losing money. Currently the only way they make money (apart from ever reducing government grants) is by launching comercial cargo. This is why there is so much crap up their in orbit.

We need to limit the amount of commerical launches or we risk ruining space for the next few generations. If this extra money means less satilites are launched for companies that will go bust before they are ever used then it is good money. But if the money is going to be used to subsidise the launches of this type of cargo then it good money after bad.

The reason for a euro GPS system is also commercial. You need to be a partner of the US government to get full access to GPS data at the highest resolution. The euro GPS will sell to those companies that want to make use of accurate GPS data but can't (or are unwilling to attempt) to get the US government to play ball. This is both a good and bad thing. If access to accurate GPS helps governments and companies develop and help local peoples then it is a good idea but I personally think the data will be used by robber oil barons and weapons manufacturers making the current situations even worse for the average man on the streets.

Re:No Space War (1)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113169)

Non military GPS is already +/- 1 meter, isn't it?

I'm not sure what "robber oil barons" are, or how they're supposed to gain from a greater resolution than said 1 meter. Seeing that you're from the UK, might you be talking about Norway and their presence in the North Sea?

If weapons manufacturers were to make GPS guided missiles with higher accuracy, then so what? Haven't you learned anthing from CNN the last ten years? "Surgical precision bombing saves civillian lives". Now, why the US is claiming to use surgical bombing while at the same time utilizing cluster bombs (which are banned by most other countries) is beyond me.

Explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113264)

An independent, and redundant GPS system makes sense for the following reason:

It prevents interuption of shipping and other GPS reliant services should the US temporarily downgrade the resolution of their GPS signal. (i.e. they have another independent system that will not be degraded)

This, afaik, is the main rational for a european system - to reduce dependence on the current system.

Re:No Space War (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113273)

"Non military GPS is already +/- 1 meter, isn't it?"

It can be degraded whenever the US sees fit to. And who knows, with their current "elevated" threat advisory, what the current non-military accuracy is?

why should there be a conflict .. (2, Insightful)

teemu.s (677447) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113066)

.. ? Its not very effective to compete in a field like shooting stuff to mars .. if they could work together, theyll have more advantages, than disadvantages .. look @ the ISS -
of course I know its mainly driven by the U.S. - but I think it works out fine if they combine their knowhow and money.

And at leat it would be a bad idea if just the U.S. would settle at the mars ..

Re:why should there be a conflict .. (1)

Wastl (809) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113215)

ESA and NASA do in fact work together very closely. For example, radio messages from Mars Express will be received by US receiver stations when the EU receivers are not in range.

Conflict across the Atlantic? (5, Insightful)

jazman (9111) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113069)

Um, so what you're saying is that when America does space stuff, it's good for the world, but when Europe does space stuff, that's "conflict across the Atlantic?" How's that work then?

Not intending to troll but that "conflict" thing does seem like an odd conclusion. Are Europeans now terrorists? How about a bit more reasoning, rather than just saying "Europe? Space? WAR!!!!!"

Re:Conflict across the Atlantic? (4, Funny)

sparkes (125299) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113088)

You know what they say behind every Bush is a terrorist these days ;-)

Re:Conflict across the Atlantic? (1)

stoborrobots (577882) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113091)

How about ... "Europe? Not willing to succumb to our lies? WAR!!! Oh, yeah, they're going into space, that's a good excuse..."

Re:Conflict across the Atlantic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113103)

I'm just guessing, but I think the argument goes something like this: If you're not dependent on the US, you are a potential threat. I don't agree with that, but it seems to be the logic...

Re:Conflict across the Atlantic? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113142)

We (those of us in the USA) have gotten jaded ever since the Cold War ended and now expect the rest of the world to just follow along and pick up the crumbs we leave behind.

Heaven forbid anyone else should dare to lead (or try to lead) in any particular sector of industry...or in anything for that matter!!!

Not really I suppose but that's how it seems and the maintainers of Slashdot appear to think that way too...it is just sooo much easier to have a closed mind.

Off topic-ish but I'm personally getting tired of so much nationalism and the relentless need by everyone to overtly and aggressively demonstrate their religious, nationalistic or philosophic identity at the drop of a hat.

I dread next year's Olympics...:(

Re:Conflict across the Atlantic? (-1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113177)

mod AC up!

TERRORISTIC FRENCH GARLIC USAGE ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113206)

No more news for nerds? (-1, Offtopic)

kerb (43511) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113074)

legal battles, politics, copyright infringement, book reviews, moview reviews, product advertisements inguise of "cool new gadget".

come on guys! we nerds are keep coming back here for "news for nerds". stop flooding us with stories for more appropriate for WIRED or SALON or CNET.

just a request.

Competition is always good (2, Insightful)

[cx] (181186) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113075)

As in any market competition encourages the other competitors to step up the pace to beat out the latest and greatest from their foes. This is really the birth of the space race, as privatized sectors will probably get more funding than NASA these days. Lots of rich people are ignorant and very interested towards space (NSYNC Member Lance Bass) and they have the money to power their dreams. These companies will open more gateways into space and will further technology on planet Earth, Luna (The moon) and Mars (To get to Mars).

It's hard to find a negative side other than NASA will have to be more of a space agency than a satellite monitoring system.

I look forward to new technology that will allow me to drink Tang all day, and that chalky hard ice cream! But seriously, I look forward to new innovations in space ship design as well as thrusters that will get us out of the atmosphere with some kind of renewable fuel source and enough power to move around outside of orbit.

(Maybe in 22nd century)

Dont flame me I have bad karma as it is :)

[cx]

"Competition" (2, Insightful)

Jhan (542783) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113092)

<mood type="foul">

ESA and the russians aren't much competition right now... On the other hand neither is NASA, what with the Columbia debacle which will probably lead to a permanent moth-balling of the remaing orbiters.

The russians will just keep cranking out 1960's era craft until the factories break down. Nothing wrong with 60's rockets, but we need to have modern designs and materials if we're going to lower the cost of space access.

ESA is at least trying to develop new technology. Witness the Ariadne 5 a.k.a. "worlds most expensive fire cracker". Last thing I heard ESA needed 500.000.000 to redesign it from scratch. That kind of expense will cripple ESA for decades. *Sigh*. I guess I'll have to hold my thumbs for the Chinese.

</mood>

OT: Actual shell experience (UnixWare)

1> df space
df: cannot access space

China? HA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113127)

Maybe, just maybe, China will have the same technology that we have now, in say, 20 years...

Re:China? HA! (1)

Shillo (64681) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113236)

Open your computer, and read the 'Made in...' stickers. Most of them don't say Taiwan any more.

Now go around your house and read more 'Made in...' stickers.

It's not the technology, it's the finance and (cheap) workforce and know-how and willingness to use the technology. US may get there in 20 years, you know...

--

Re:"Competition" (3, Insightful)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113198)

ESA and the russians aren't much competition right now...

Well, Arianespace owns most of the GEO satellite market where most commercial space launches go, and American launchers only launch vehicles that can't go on Ariane for one reason or another, so I don't really agree.

The russians will just keep cranking out 1960's era craft until the factories break down. Nothing wrong with 60's rockets, but we need to have modern designs and materials if we're going to lower the cost of space access.

Interestingly, the Russian hardware is cheaper than the Americans, even when you account for the lower wages in America. This is evidence that higher technology is not the answer and may well be counterproductive. The only trick that is needed for cheap space is to launch. Launch often. Launch really often. Economies of scale are bigger than every other known trick for reducing the cost of space, even put together. Of course the Russians use mass production techniques to build their rockets.

European GPS (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113099)

The problem with GPS, is that US can turn it off when ever they want to. This makes it hard to make security equipment that depends on GPS. Like for boats and so, Military systems already exists, and theres no need for a GPS in the European Military (From what I know). Sure the European Military wouldnt mind a new GPS system, not at all. But they dont realy _need_ it. An european GPS is good for the consumer, that gets two systems to choose from. Its good got the rescue crew (that cant use the militray systems) that in a few years can have equipment running on _both_ gps and "euro-gps"

Re:European GPS (3, Interesting)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113138)

And "eruo-gps" is supposed to be hundred percent commercial. If the military want to use it, they'll have to pay like everybody else.

How's that for free market, US?

Re:European GPS (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113184)

it's such a massive waste of resources though, isn't it? The USA already has Navstar GPS in place but because of their paranoia there are actually TWO entirely new networks being built! Cellphone companies cooperate more than that!

Re:European GPS (3, Insightful)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113224)

Their paranoia?

You haven't been following politics lately, have you? The EU (in general) aren't going to trust the US again in the near future. Most Europeans are fed up with their arrogance, and scared by their military superiority. Also, the US "democracy" is converging to a plutocracy, or in the best case a corporate police state. Not something you would like to be dependant on.

The EU doesn't trust the US, and have good reasons not to. Would you like to tell me how it's a waste for the EU to have a military too? The US already got that part covered, don't they?

GPS (1)

jabbadabbadoo (599681) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113149)

A separate GPS system for Europe adds redundancy, which is great, but the us mil's must be shivering on the though of no longer beeing the masters of wobbling.

Re:GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113174)

The European GPS system uses the same frequency band (1.5 GHz) as the American GPS system, that's not a redundancy.

Old Ike "blasts off" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113164)

When I think of dirty old men, I think of Ike Thomas and when I think about Ike I get a hard-on that won't quit.

Sixty years ago, I worked in what was once my Grandfather's Greenhouses. Gramps had died a year earlier and Grandma, now in her seventies had been forced to sell to the competition. I got a job with the new owners and mostly worked the range by myself. That summer, they hired a man to help me get the benches ready for the fall planting.

Ike always looked like he was three days from a shave and his whiskers were dirty white, shaded by the brim of his battered felt fedora.

He did not chew tobacco but the corners of his mouth turned down in a way that, at any moment, I expected a trickle of thin, brown juice to creep down his chin. His bushy, brown eyebrows shaded pale, gray eyes.

The old-timer extended his hand, lifted his leg like a dog about to mark a bush and let go the loudest fart I ever heard. The old fellow then winked at me, "Ike Thomas is the name and playing pecker's my game."

I thought he said, "Checkers." I was nineteen, green as grass. I said, "I was never much good at that game."

"Now me," said Ike, "I just love jumping men . . ."

"I'll bet you do."

". . . and grabbing on to their peckers," said Ike.

"I though we were talking about . . ."

"You like jumping old men's peckers?"

I shook my head.

"I reckon we'll have to remedy that." Ike lifted his right leg and let go another tremendous fart. "He said, "We best be getting to work."

That summer of 1941 was a more innocent time. I learned most of the sex I knew from those little eight pager cartoon booklets of comic-page characters going at it. Young men read them in the privacy of an outside john, played with themselves, by themselves and didn't brag about it. Sometimes, we got off with a trusted friend and helped each other out.

Under the greenhouse glass, the temperature some times climbed over the hundred degree mark. I had worked stripped to the waist since April and was as brown as a berry. On only his second day on the job and in the middle of August, Ike wore old fashioned overalls. Those and socks in his high-top work shoes was every stitch he wore. When he bent forward, the bib front billowed out and I could see the white curly hairs on his chest and belly.

"Me? I just love to eat pussy!" Ike licked his lips from corner to corner then sticking his tongue out far enough that the tip could touch the end of his nose. He said, A man's not a man till he knows first hand, the flavor of a lady's pussy."

"People do that?"

He winked. "Of course the taste of a hard cock ain't to be sneezed at neither. Now you answer me, yes or no. Does a man's cock taste salty or not?"

"I never . . ."

"Well, old Ike's willing to let you find out."

"No way."

"Just teasing," said Ike. "But don't give me no sass or I'll show you my ass." He winked. "Might show it to you anyway, if you was to ask."

"Why would I do that?"

"Curiosity, maybe. I'm guessing you never had a good piece of man ass."

"I'm no queer."

"Now don't be getting judgmental. Enjoying what's at hand ain't being queer. It's taking pleasure where you find it with anybody willing." Ike slipped a hand into the side slit of his overalls and I could tell he was fondling and straightening out his cock. "Now I admit I got me a hole that satisfied a few guys."

I swallowed, hard.

Ike winked. "Care to be asshole buddies?"

***

We worked steadily until noon. Ike drew a worn pocket watch from the bib pocket of his loose overalls and croaked, "Bean time. But first its time to reel out our limber hoses and make with the golden arches before lunch."

I followed Ike to the end of the greenhouse where he stopped at the outside wall of the potting shed. He opened his fly, fished inside, and finger-hooked a soft white penis with a pouting foreskin puckered half an inch past the hidden head.

"Yes sir," breathed Ike, "this old peter needs some draining." He exhaled a sigh as a strong, yellow stream splattered against the boards and ran down to soak into the earthen floor.

He caught me looking down at him. He winked. "Like what you're viewing, Boy?"

I looked away.

"You taking a serious interest in old Ike's pecker?"

I shook my head.

"Well you just haul out yourn and let old Ike return the compliment."

Feeling trapped and really having to go, I fumbled at my fly, turned away slightly, withdrew my penis and strained to start.

"Take your time boy. Let it all hang out. Old Ike's the first to admit that he likes looking at another man's pecker." He flicked away the last drop of urine and shook his limp penis vigorously.

I tried not to look interested.

"Yes sir, this old peepee feels so good out, I just might leave it out." He turned to give me a better view.

"What if somebody walks in?"

Ike shrugged. He looked at my strong yellow stream beating against the boards and moved a step closer. "You got a nice one,boy."

I glanced over at him. His cock was definitely larger and beginning to stick straight out. I nodded toward his crotch. "Don't you think you should put that away?"

"I got me strictly a parlor prick," said Ike. "Barely measures six inches." He grinned. "Of course it's big enough around to make a mouthful." He ran a thumb and forefinger along its length and drawing his foreskin back enough to expose the tip of the pink head. "Yersiree." He grinned, revealing nicotine stained teeth. "It sure feels good, letting the old boy breathe."

I knew I should button up and move away. I watched his fingers moving up and down the thickening column.

"You like checking out this old man's cock?"

I nodded. In spite of myself, my cock began to swell.

"Maybe we should have ourselves a little pecker pulling party." Ike slid his fingers back and forth on his expanding shaft and winked. "I may be old but I'm not against doing some little pud pulling with a friend."

I shook my head.

"Maybe I'll give my balls some air. Would you like a viewing of old Ike's hairy balls?"

I swallowed hard and moistened my dry lips.

He opened another button on his fly and pulled out his scrotum. "Good God, It feels good to set 'em free. Now let's see yours."

"Why?"

"Just to show you're neighborly," said Ike.

"I don't think so." I buttoned up and moved into the potting shed.

Ike followed, his cock and balls protruding from the front of his overalls. "Overlook my informality." Ike grinned. "As you can see I ain't bashful."

I nodded and took my sandwich from the brown paper bag.

"Yessir," said Ike. "I just might have to have myself an old fashioned peter pulling all by my lonesome. He unhooked a shoulder strap and let his overalls drop around his ankles.

I took a bite of my sandwich but my eyes remained on Ike.

"Yessiree," said Ike, "I got a good one if I do say so myself. Gets nearly as hard as when I was eighteen. You know why?"

I shook my head.

"Cause I keep exercising him. When I was younger I was pulling on it three time a day. Still like to do him every day I can."

"Some say you'll go blind if you do that too much."

"Bull-loney!" Don't you believe that shit. I been pulling my pud for close to fifty years and I didn't start till I was fifteen."

I laughed.

"You laughing at my little peter, boy?"

"Your hat." I pointed to the soiled, brown fedora cocked on his head. That and his overalls draped about his ankles were his only items of apparel. In between was a chest full of gray curly hair, two hairy legs. Smack between them stood an erect, pale white cock with a tip of foreskin still hiding the head.

"I am one hairy S.O.B.," said Ike.

"I laughed at you wearing nothing but a hat."

"Covers up my bald spot," said Ike. "I got more hair on my ass than I got on my head. Want to see?"

"Your head?"

"No, Boy, my hairy ass and around my tight, brown asshole." He turned, reached back with both hands and parted his ass cheeks to reveal the small, puckered opening. "There it is, Boy, the entrance lots of good feelings. Tell me, Boy, how would you like to put it up old Ike's ass?"

"I don't think so."

"That'd be the best damned piece you ever got."

"We shouldn't be talking like this."

"C'mon now, confess, don't this make your cock perk up a little bit?"

"I reckon," I confessed.

"You ever seen an old man's hard cock before," asked Ike.

"My grandpa's when I was twelve or thirteen."

"How'd that come about?"

He was out in the barn and didn't know I was around. He dropped his pants. It was real big he did things to it. He saw me and he turned around real fast but I saw it."

"What did your grandpa do?"

"He said I shouldn't be watching him doing that. He said something like grandma wouldn't give him some,' that morning and that I should get out of there and leave a poor man in peace to do what he had to do."

"Did you want to join him."

"I might have if he'd asked. He didn't."

"I like showing off my cock," said Ike. "A hard-on is something I always been proud of. A hard-on proves a man's a man. Makes me feel like a man that can do things." He looked up at me and winked. "You getting a hard-on from all this talk, son?"

I nodded and looked away.

"Then maybe you should pull it out and show old Ike what you got."

"We shouldn't."

"Hey. A man's not a man till he jacked off with a buddy."

I wanted to but I was as nervous as hell.

Ike grinned and fingered his pecker. "C'mon, Boy, between friends, a little cock showing is perfectly fine. Lets see what you got in the cock and balls department."

In spite of my reluctance, I felt the stirring in my crotch. I had curiosity that needed satisfying. It had been a long, long time since I had walked in on my grandfather .

"C'mon let's see it all."

I shook my head.

"You can join the party anytime, said Ike. "Just drop your pants and pump away."

I had the urge. There was a tingling in my crotch. My cock was definitely willing and I had a terrible need to adjust myself down there. But my timidity and the strangeness of it all held me back.

Hope you don't mind if I play out this hand." Ike grinned. "It feels like I got a winner."

I stared at his gnarled hand sliding up and down that pale, white column and I could not look away. I wet my lips and shook my head.

Old Ike's about to spout a geyser." Ike breathed harder as he winked. "Now if I just had a long finger up my ass. You interested, boy?"

I shook my head.

The first, translucent, white glob crested the top of his cock and and arced to the dirt floor. Ike held his cock at the base with thumb and forefinger and tightened noticeably with each throb of ejaculation until he was finished.

I could not believe any man could do what he had done in front of another human being.

Ike sighed with pleasure and licked his fingers. "A man ain't a man till he's tasted his own juices."

He squatted, turned on the faucet and picked up the connected hose. He directed the water between his legs and on to his still dripping prick and milked the few remaining drops of white, sticky stuff into the puddle forming at his feet. "Cool water sure feels good on a cock that just shot its wad," said Ike.

***

"Cock-tale telling time," said Old Ike. It was the next day and he rubbed the front of his dirty,worn overalls where his bulge made the fly expand as his fingers smoothed the denim around the outline of his expanding cock.

I wasn't sure what he had in mind but I knew it wasn't something my straight-laced Grandma would approve of.

"Don't you like taking your cock out and jacking it?" Ike licked his lips.

I shook my head in denial.

"Sure you do. A young man in his prime has got to be pulling his pud."

I stared at his calloused hand moving over the growing bulge at his crotch.

"Like I said," continued Ike, "I got me barely six inches when he's standing up." He winked at me. "How much you got, son?"

"Almost seven inches . . ." I stuttered. "Last time I measured."

"And I'm betting it feels real good with your fist wrapped around it."

"I don't do . . ."

"Everybody does it." He scratched his balls and said,"I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Then, looking me in the eye, he lifted his leg like a dog at a tree and let out a long, noisy fart.

Denying that I jacked off, I said, "I saw yours yesterday."

"A man has got to take out his pecker every once in a while." He winked and his fingers played with a button on his fly. Care to join me today?"

"I don't think so."

"What's the matter, boy? You ashamed of what's hanging 'tween your skinny legs?"

"It's not for showing off."

"That would be so with a crowd of strangers but with a friend, in a friendly showdown, where's the harm?

"It shouldn't be shown to other people. My Grandma said that a long time ago when I went to the bathroom against a tree when I was seven.

"There's nothing like a joint pulling among friends to seal a friendship," said Ike.

I don't think so." I felt very much, ill at ease.

"Then what the fuck is it for," demanded the old man. "A good man shares his cock with his friends. How old are you boy?"

"Nineteen almost twenty."

You ever fucked a woman?"

"No."

"Ever fucked a man?"

"Of course not.

"Son, you ain't never lived till you've fired your load up a man's tight ass."

"I didn't know men did that to each other."

"Men shove it up men's asses men all the time. They just don't talk about it like they do pussy."

"You've done that?"

"I admit this old pecker's been up a few manholes. More than a few hard cocks have shagged this old ass over the years." He shook his head, wistfully, "I still have a hankering for a hard one up the old dirt chute."

"I think that would hurt."

"First time, it usually does," agreed Ike. He took a bite from his sandwich.

I looked at my watch. Ten minutes of our lunch hour had already passed.

"We got time for a quickie," said Ike. "There's no one around to say, stop, if were enjoying ourselves."

He unhooked the slide off the button of one shoulder-strap, pushed the bib of his overalls down to let them fall to his feet.

"Showtime," said Ike. Between his legs, white and hairy, his semi-hard cock emerged from a tangled mass of brown and gray pubic hair. The foreskin, still puckered beyond the head of the cock, extended downward forty-five degrees from the horizontal but was definitely on the rise.

I could only stare at the man. Until the day before, I had never seen an older man with an erection besides my grandpa.

Ike moved his fingers along the stalk of his manhood until the head partially emerged, purplish and broad. He removed his hand for a moment and it bobbled obscenely in the subdued light of the potting shed. Ike leaned back against a bin of clay pots like a model on display. "Like I said, boy, it gets the job done."

I found it difficult not to watch. "You shouldn't . . ."

"C'mon, boy. Show Ike your pecker. I'm betting it's nice and hard."

I grasped my belt and tugged on the open end. I slipped the waistband button and two more before pushing down my blue jeans and shorts down in one move. My cock bounced and slapped my belly as I straightened."

"That's a beaut." Ike stroked his pale, white cock with the purplish-pink head shining. "I'm betting it'll grow some more if you stroke it."

"We really shouldn't . . ."

"Now don't tell me you never stroked your hard peter with a buddy."

"I've done that," I finally admitted,. "But he was the same age as me and it was a long time ago." I though back to the last time Chuck and me jerked each other off in the loft of our old barn. Chuck wanted more as a going away present and we had sucked each other's dicks a little bit.

"Jackin's always better when you do it with somebody," said Ike. "Then you can lend each other a helping hand."

"I don't know about that," I said.

Ike's hand continued moving on his old cock as he leaned over to inspect mine. "God Damn! Boy. That cock looks good enough to eat." Ike licked his lips. "You ever had that baby sucked?"

I shook my head as I watched the old man stroke his hard, pale cock.

"Well boy, I'd say you're packing a real mouthful for some lucky gal or guy." He grinned. "Well c'mon. Let's see you get down to some serious jacking. Old Ike's way ahead of you."

I wrapped my fist around my stiff cock and moved the foreskin up and over the head on the up stroke. On the down stroke the expanded corona of the angry, purple head stared obscenely at the naked old man.

Ike toyed with his modest six inches. "What do you think of this old man's cock?" His fist rode down to his balls and a cockhead smaller than the barrel stared back at mine.

"I guess I'm thinking this is like doing it with my grandpa."

"You ever wish you could a done this with your grandpa?"

"I thought about it a lot."

"Ever see him with a hard-on."

"I told you about that!"

"Ever think about him doing your grandma?"

"I can't imagine her ever doing anything with a man.

"Take my word for it, sonny, we know she did it or you wouldn't be here." Begrudgingly I nodded in agreement.

"Everybody fucks," said old Ike. "They fuck or they jack off."

"If you say so."

"Say sonny, your cocks getting real juicy with slickum. Want old Ike to lick some of it away?"

"You wouldn't."

Ike licked his lips as he kept his hand pistoning up and down his hard cock. "You might be surprised what old Ike might do if he was in the mood for a taste of what comes out of a hard cock."

And that is what he proceeded to do. He sucked me dry.

Then he erupted in half-a-dozen spurts shooting out and onto the dirt floor of the potting shed. He gave his cock a flip and shucked t back into his overalls. He unwrapped a sandwich from its wax paper and proceed to eat without washing his hands. He took a bite and chewed. "Nothing like it boy, a good jacking clears the cobwebs from your crotch and gives a man an appetite."

***

The following day, We skipped the preliminaries. We dropped our pants. Ike got down on his knees and sucked me until I was hard and good and wet before he stood and turned.

"C'mon boy, Shove that pretty cock up old Ike's tight, brown hole and massage old Ike's prostate.

Ike bent forward and gripped the edge of the potting bench. The lean, white cheeked buttocks parted slightly and exposed the dark brown, crinkly, puckered star of his asshole "Now you go slow and ease it along until you've got it all the way in," he cautioned. "This old ass craves your young cock but it don't want too much too soon. You've got to let this old hole stretch to accommodate you."

"Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Easy boy, easy," he cautioned. "You feel a lot bigger than you look. Put a little more spit in your cock."

"It's awfully tight. I don't know if it's going to go or not."

"It'll go," said Ike. "There's been bigger boys than you up the old shit chute."

I slipped in the the last few inches.. "It's all in."

"I can tell," said Ike. "Your cock hairs are tickling my ass."

"Are you ready," I asked.

"How are you liking old Ike's hairy asshole so far?"

"It's real tight."

"Tighter than your fist?"

"Might be."

"Ready to throw a fuck into a man that reminds you of your grandpa."

"I reckon."

"I want you should do old Ike one more favor."

"What?"

While you're pumpin' my ass, would you reach around and play with my dick like you would your own? Would you do that for an old man?"

I reached around and took hold of his hard cock sticking out straight in front of him. I pilled the skin back and then pulled it up and over the expanded glans. I felt my own cock expand inside him as I manipulated his staff in my fingers. I imagined that my cock extended through him and I was playing with what came out the other side of him.

"C'mon, boy, ram that big cock up the old shitter and make me know it. God Damn! tickle that old prostate and make old Ike come!"

I came. And I came. Ike's tightened up on my cock and I throbbed Roman Candle bursts into that brown hole as I pressed into him. His hairy, scrawny ass flattened against my crotch and we were joined as tightly as two humans can be.

"A man's not a man till he's cum in another man." said old Ike. "You made it, boy. But still, a man's not a man till he's had a hard cock poked up his ass at least once."

Every time I think of that scene, I get another hard-on. Then I remember the next day when old Ike returned the favor.

I never have managed to come that hard again. If only Ike were here.

netcraft confirms: nasa is dead! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113181)

and you dont have to be the amazing kreskin to know it.

paranoid? (3, Insightful)

xyr0 (678756) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113195)

well, its really funny that some ppl might think that a space mission to mars will trigger a new cold war + even a real war. hmmm ... as far as im informed the ESA and NASA have been working together in numerous missions before with everyone depending on each other. the problem was that sometimes the europeans were only allowed to play the passengers and didnt get the science information first hand. some also mentioned the european gps system. it was started because the normal gps could be turned off at any place by the US military. so the european one is more like consumer-orientated (and not wobbling :). and the russians and chinese also have their gps system. but on the whole i think that a little competition is never bad. but why does this sort of thing upset some ppl? afraid of a multipolar world (that some governor doesnt want). oh man!

What conflict, why? (5, Insightful)

kimmo (52756) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113220)

>
> "...are we heading towards a future conflict across the Atlantic?"
>

What kind of conflict do you mean, and what might cause it because Europe develops some tehcnological abilities of it's own?

Does the US feel somehow threatened when it doesn't have a monopoly on many kinds of stuff anymore? Does it have a reason to be afraid in that case?

"Hey, i'm growing potatoes, you must not research the hoe technology (because then i would lose the monopoly on producing and selling these artificially degraded and overpriced potatoes to whom i wish, whenever it might suit my needs).."

Heating up for all but the US/russia governments (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113222)

china, India, Japan, EU, even North Korea are massively getting into space thanx largely to the research and development efforts of Russia and USA. But Russia is near bankruptcy, and we are heading that way all the time. One nice affect of outrageous deficits is that we will be forced to cut back NASA, which will propel private enterprise into at least leo(hopefully more). Who knows, that may allow NASA to finally expand into moving to Mars, Moon, and further.

Personally, I am in hopes that EU will start heading for the moon now and start colinizing efforts.

Few problems, many positives (3, Interesting)

Logopop (234246) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113229)

First of all, I see no future 'conflict'. There are many players here besider the US, and the International Space Station shows us that we have no problems besides technical to cooperate when it comes to space exploration (except maybe Russian funding). Both the Chinese and the Japanese have programs with great momentum.
The system redundancy argument is a good one. I am sure that there's a lot of obscure politics involved, but technically speaking I am looking forward to being able to utilize a GPS receiver that can correlate the results from two independent systems. There were receivers that did that with GLONASS, I don't know if that system is still operable.
Competition is of course good, however I think that the potential for commercial competition is fairly slim for the time being due to the high cost of anything space related and that you can't 'claim' resources in space like you do on earth (AFAIK).
All in all - the more people/equipment/systems we can bring out into space, the easier it will be to colaborate and go 'where no man has gone before'. Manned mission to Mars, anyone?

-Kris

Conflict US - Europe (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113251)

"with this and the 'European version' of GPS are we heading towards a future conflict across the Atlantic?"

I don't think so, Europeans are quite pacifists (If we remove the uk, of course) they are not oriented to conflict aspects and try to avoid violence as much as possible.

The GPS systems was indeed good to be launched, in Europe there is a huge ammount of GPS civilian users as well there is big investments in adding services to this system. I believe all the GPS users(like me) don't like to feel dependent of the us army to remove the resolution of the GPS location.

In the first day of the iraque attack, I was traveling from the netherlands to austria, and believe in me, it was not funny to loose the sinal and go the wrong way!

Conflict? Competition. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113259)

Nah... competition is the word. Why's that bad when it comes to space technology?

One down side I could imagine: competition will not allow for much environmental cleaning... near-earth space is getting more dirty every day. Cleaning does not immediately contribute to lower cost numbers so will be ignored when there's loads of competition.

Eventually we will not be able to send anything into space anymore (all non-dirty time-slots will be gone... it'll be too risky to launch). Then we'll have to start building space buildozers ;-)

Re:Conflict? Competition. (1)

stoborrobots (577882) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113271)

You could be on to something there...

Let's go out and build ourselves some space bulldozers...

I can see it now:
1. Build space bulldozer
2. Wait for spacejunk to fill up
3. ???
4. Profit

NASA the dominant agency? (4, Insightful)

LeoDV (653216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113260)

If I remember correcty, the ESA are the only ones actually making money from space with their Ariane program. If you ask me, the dominant agency has been ESA for a long time. And before that it was Russia.

I'd like to remind you of the fact that even though NASA is very glad to have won the race to the moon, there was no such thing. Instead of going there and back, the Russians put Mir in orbit, which is a more useful and lasting feat than putting a flag on the moon.

Some prospective (4, Informative)

Eminence (225397) | more than 11 years ago | (#6113275)

They said they would put "over 1 billion euros" on that. What about some prospective? ESA's [esa.int] budget for 2002 was around 2,8 bn euros. With this sort of money for last four years they were able to put together a mission to Mars - and that's about it. NASA's budget [nasa.gov] is around 15 bn Euros and it is barely enough to keep the Shuttle fleet flying and make around two scientific missions a year (look for example at the state US Mars exploration is in). And that is not all the money US spends on space - there is also DoD budget.

A single Ariane 5 launch costs around $150 M which is roughly $140 MEuros, so this is good for around ten launches. Proton and Soyuz are cheaper - $80M and $40M respectively. (a table of launch vehicles costs [spaceref.com] ). But of course this money won't be spent directly on launches, you have to have something to launch first.

Europe's space program has been so far driven mostly by France and to some extent Britain. Others were just interested, but with no real substance. All projects of manned missions were dropped along the way (and there were a few - a small shuttle designed by French that was supposed to be Ariane's payload - I forgot the name, German SSTO Sanger plane and similar British project). As a result Europe has no experience in building manned spacecraft - unless they would get it from Russians. I'm afraid that 1 bn Euros won't be enough to put together a manned mission unless it would be just flying Russian spacecrafts with Europe's yellow stars logo painted on them.

If Europe would spend this money on building a GPS-like system, then 1 bn Euros is a significant amount, however again not enough to build the system - and keep it running (Russians build one to guide their warheads but couldn't afford to keep it up).

What is most likely however is that this money won't be spent on a single mission or project. As the article says this money would be "pumped into the sector to overhaul its manufacturing and marketing programmes". It means that it would be divided into many small donations to various projects just to keep the industry afloat. So it is nice, but is far from enough if Europe really wants to be a player in the Space Race.

And - BTW - Deutsche Telekom's loss [guardian.co.uk] for 2002 was "over" 24 billion euros.

TWAT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6113278)

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